Rackspace Adds Virtual Desktop Platform To Cloud Channel Arsenal


Rackspace Hosting launched a hosted virtual desktop platform on Monday that the company said leverages its hosting services to let customers host their virtual desktops on any dedicated or cloud solution.

And the platform can be paired with desktop virtualization plays from others like Citrix or solution providers, San Antonio-based Rackspace said.

Chris Zagorski, director of enterprise product development at Rackspace, said the cloud hosted infrastructure play, which will be available through Rackspace's channel and was unveiled at Citrix Summit 2011, can whittle down the number of IT resources while delivering desktop virtualization capabilities.

The launch of Rackspace hosted virtual desktop platform comes as the market for virtual desktops is expected to hit 70 million users by 2014, according to Gartner. Rackspace said desktop virtualization solutions like Citrix's XenDesktop and XenApp offer on-demand virtual desktops and applications anywhere users are on almost any device, like PCs, smartphones, tablets and others to offer improved productivity, flexibility and mobility, agility and eased desktop management.

Rackspace will host these virtual desktops with its virtual desktop platform that leverages RackConnect, best-of-breed partner solutions and Rackspace's Fanatical Support to enable the deployment of a virtual desktop that uses the private cloud to address security and compliance concerns and to manage control servers while also using Rackspace CloudServers for XenApp environments.

The platform can also allow customers to reduce the deployment times of upgrades and new infrastructure deployments while reducing capital expenses, Zagorski said.

The platform combines compute platforms with NetApp storage to enable the provisioning of thousands of virtual desktops with nearly instant storage cloning.

"You need unique storage solutions and you need unique networking solutions," Zagorski said.

Solution providers can add Rackspace hosted virtual desktop to their portfolios of cloud and virtualization offerings without the existing expense of purchasing hardware and hiring resources to manage the environments. Zagorski said channel partners, VARs and systems integrators can offer consulting and transformation services around the hosted virtual desktop platform. The Rackspace hosted virtual desktop platform will be available to resellers through the Rackspace Partner Program.

"We're tapping our vast community of partners and their networks to provide customers with a hosted virtual desktop platform that offers them choices," said Odus Wittenburg, vice president of enterprise solutions for Rackspace. "Providing Fanatical Support on top of our solutions portfolio produces exceptional business outcomes for our customers and that is what we do best. By working with partners like Citrix and their network of nearly 9,000 partners, we can utilize their exceptional software and application solutions, which is what they do best."

Wittenburg said the hosted virtual desktop platform goes beyond a traditional virtual desktop offering as it is virtualizing the applications.

"We've been talking in the industry about virtual desktop happening for a long time, and it hasn't," Wittenburg said. "But it's happening now."

Along with teaming up for the hosted virtual desktop platform, Rackspace and Citrix will also launch a hosted virtual desktop demo environment. The demo environment is hosted at Rackspace and leverages Citrix software and NetApp storage to give users the opportunity to experience desktop virtualization for 30 days from nearly any device.